Superheroes a la Guerlain

Guerlain Super Aqua-Creme Creme JourGuerlain’s Super Aqua-Serum is, without a doubt, one of my “Desert Island” beauty products; an exquisitely scented lotion which helps tackle dehydration and plumps up the skin. It’s one of those beauty items I treat my complexion to every now and then, whenever I feel a pick-me-up is required – and often after I’ve been dallying with some new cream or other that my skin hasn’t warmed to. I’ve certainly had plenty of occasions to turn to it during my 18 years on the beauty beat: this sublime serum has been on the go for a quarter of a century. It is now regarded as a bona fide classic, and one which underwent an updating of its technology just two years ago.

This spring, my Desert Island dressing table is going to have to make room for another product from the newly relaunched Super-Aqua range: the Day Cream (£70) which I’ve now been using for a fortnight (along with my beloved serum). My skin isn’t so much dry as thirsty so it was in fact the Day Gel (£70) that I had hoped to try but since samples of those were scarce, I “made do” with the cream. And, oh, I’m glad I gave it a go… Why? Because it is gorgeous – luxurious but easily absorbed, cocooning but not heavy, and it makes the skin – well, MY skin – feel unbelievably smooth and look even-toned. So much so that I have actually left the house without foundation. More than once. And when I do put foundation on over it, it looks fab. Super-aqua-duper, in fact…

 

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Red With Envy

Estee Lauder Pure Color Envy model shotIt may be an old cliche to talk about “putting our war paint on” – but it’s an accurate one …  and I’ve always thought that lipstick is by far the single-most effective weapon in our make-up armoury. No other single cosmetic can so immediately transform you from mouse to minx, from shrinking violet to sexy vamp – at least in terms of appearance. And if you look the part, it’s easier to play it – and that’s how make-up gives us confidence, as well as a mask to hide behind if we want it.

Tom Pecheux, creative make-up director at Estee Lauder, agrees. “Sexy, confident and powerful – that’s what lipstick does for women,” he says. And, with this in mind, he has created a new collection for Estee Lauder – Pure Color Envy Sculpting Lipsticks, moisturising, long-lasting lipsticks with intense, multi-faceted pigments which shape and define and make the lips look plumper. Of course, with a make-up weapon that often gets wielded in public, presentation is important as well - and, with a chic tube which has a magnetic  click closure to ensure that the lid always goes on correctly and quickly, Pure Color Envy Sculpting Lipsticks certainly tick that box too.

There are 20 shades of Pure Color Envy Sculpting Lipstick (£24 each; www.esteelauder.co.uk) and they span nudes through to the more dramatic colours such as Envious Red, which model Carolyn Murphy wears in the ads.Estee Lauder Pure Color Envy group shot

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A Story Goes With Them: Les Exclusifs de Chanel

Chanel Les Exclusifs extraitsOne of the biggest thrills of my career as a beauty journalist was being invited to Paris to meet Chanel’s fragrance creator, Jacques Polge, back in 2006. I met him twice that year – once at his lab in Neuilly where he introduced me to the latest Chanel fragrance, Allure Sensuelle, and then a few months later when the subject for discussion was a new collection of fragrances, Les Exclusifs de Chanel, which were a sort of olfactory evocation of Coco Chanel’s colourful life and inspiring tastes.

Not only was I granted a leisurely interview with Polge, who has created every new Chanel fragrance since 1978 and is the custodian of its fragrance heritage,  but we had our chat in the apartment which is essentially the epicentre of the Chanel universe – Coco Chanel’s private quarters above her original Paris boutique at 31 rue Cambon.

Chanel 1932 Jacques Polge with brooch

Jacques Polge, the creator of Chanel fragrances, in the fine jewellery boutique at 18 place Vendome

Sitting on Coco Chanel’s sand-coloured settee, surrounded by her personal possessions which have all been left as they were when the great couturiere died in 1971, I heard all about the about-to-be-launched Les Exclusifs collection; ten fragrances which drew inspiration from every aspect of the legendary designer’s life – including many items and motifs which were in evidence in front of me, in her apartment.

Four of the fragrances had made their debut in the early years of Chanel’s career, and had been revived by Polge for this collection, while the other six – among them my personal favourite, 31 rue Cambon, a complex, elegant yet sensual, chypre – had been specially  created, and were the result of Polge immersing himself in “Mademoiselle’s” personal effects and biography.

Les Exclusifs were launched in 2007. Since 2009, Polge has added a further three fragrances to the collection: Beige (2009), Jersey (2011) and 1932 (2012). The inspiration for Beige, a  warm, honey-floral equivalent of one of the couturiere’s signature colours, and Jersey, Polge’s reimagining (and rehabilitation) of lavender in tribute to the fabric which symbolises Chanel’s modernity and revolutionary spirit, is obvious to anyone who is familiar with the Chanel story and the history of fashion, but the background to 1932 is maybe not as self-evident.

Chanel 1932 necklace

“Comete” necklace from Chanel’s 1932 Bijoux de Diamants collection, photographed by Robert Bresson

It was in 1932 that Coco Chanel presented her first collection of fine jewellery, and Polge took inspiration from the Comete necklace and brooch which she designed for that initial collection to create a sparkling white fragrance structured around the most star-studded flower in perfumery – jasmine.

Les Exclusifs – to which customers can be introduced by an expert at one of the handful of Chanel olfactive bars around the country – are only available in Chanel boutiques and Espaces Parfums, and were launched without any fanfare because, as Polge explained to me back in 2007, they were only going to be available to buy in places where they could be presented properly; where their stories could be told and where their presentation could be appreciated and admired. Their launch was a reaction against what he called “the banalisation” of fragrance, particularly the way perfumes were being routinely sold in supermarkets and often being chosen solely on the basis of their packaging and ad campaigns.

Now, in 2014, as Polge prepares to hand over the reins of the Chanel fragrance empire to his son (his retirement was announced last year, but no date given), he has introduced pure perfume variations of Beige, Jersey and 1932 to the collection – Les Exclusifs de Chanel Extraits – and these have slightly different accents to their parent scents; they are, in fact, new interpretations of them.

I’m just keeping my fingers crossed that Monsieur Polge produces an extrait of 31 rue Cambon before he starts drawing his perfumeur’s pension …

* Les Exclusifs de Chanel Extraits (£155 each) are available exclusively in Chanel at Covent Garden, Chanel Boutiques, Frasers in Glasgow, Fenwicks in Newcastle, Selfridges in Manchester and Selfridges W1. For further stockist information, call 0207-493 3836.

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The Gift of Guerlain for Mother’s Day

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Guerlain’s Abeille Royale range, used in the Abeille Royale facial at the Guerlain Spa

Mother’s Day is looming and, partly in the interests of inspiring readers whose mums live near Edinburgh, and partly because I am 100% convinced there is no danger of my being given anything even remotely as luxurious by my ten-year-old sons, I felt I absolutely had to accept the invitation from the Guerlain Spa at The Waldorf Astoria in Edinburgh to sample one of its three limited edition Mother’s Day packages! I opted for the Couture package, the centrepiece of which is the sumptuous Abeille Royale – guaranteed to make any mother feel like a VIP during it, and look like a MYP (much younger person) after it ..

The inspiration for each of the exclusive treatments is La Petite Robe Noire, Guerlain’s own fragrant tribute to the “little black dress”. The treatments have been created to celebrate the launch of Couture, the latest addition to the exclusive collection.

The award winning Edinburgh spa is the epitome of elegance, luxury and sophistication, and echoes the glamour and prestige of its peerless Champs Elysées counterpart.  With uniquely-tailored beauty and skincare experiences that draw on Guerlain’s long history, a visit to this sanctuary is surely the ultimate Mother’s Day gift.

Couture package (£99; one hour, 30 mins)
* full use of the spa facilities
* La Petite Robe Noire fragrance journey
* relaxing footbath
* Abeille Royale Expert Facial Treatment
* Touch of Colour
* For further information or to book, call the spa reception on 0131-222 8836.

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Spring into Colour With Tom Ford

Tom Ford spring 2014 make-upHow seductive is the new spring 2014 make-up collection from Tom Ford? Returning to the distinctive white and gold packaging, it is like a breath of fresh air – and conjures up (for me anyway) images of 1930s and 1970s Hollywood. Jean Harlow and Faye Dunaway are the stars who spring to mind when I look at (okay, ogle) this collection of eight lipsticks and four nail lacquers.

Tom Ford Nail Lacquer in Coral Beach

The Lip Color Sheers (£36 each) are new additions to the Tom Ford lipstick portfolio and are ideal for those prone to dry lips. Glossy and moisturising (they are rich in nourishing vitamin E and comforting shea butter), they offer deeper colour than the Lip Color Shines which launched last year, and the eight shades span the spectrum from nude (In the Buff) to full-on red  (Firecracker) and pink (Incorrigible). My own favourites include the metallic coppery rose/nude Pink Dune and the 1940s-style coral Sweet Spot.

Complementing the lip colours are four new Nail Laquers (£26 each). Coral Beach is my favourite so far – no wonder: its gorgeous summery peachiness is a tonic on miserable March days.

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Origins in Scotland

Origins Plantscription Powerful LiftTwo of my current favourite products – Make a Difference Plus Rejuvenating Lotion and  Mega-Bright eye cream – are by Origins so I’m delighted to be able to tell fellow fans that the American natural beauty brand is holding two simultaneous events in Glasgow and Edinburgh on Thursday, March 6 to celebrate its latest launch – Plantscription Powerful Lift Cream.
At Frasers in Glasgow, the event is to be held in Hugh’s Champagne Bar, 5.45pm arrival for a 6pm start (customers will receive a glass of bubbles on arrival). Luxury canapés and bubbly will be served in Hugh’s Champagne bar whilst customers enjoy a presentation on the Origins Plantscription franchise with a particular focus on the new Powerful Lift cream.
After the presentation customers can browse the collection and have a chat with Origins guides who will be on hand to offer skincare tips and advice. On purchasing two or more products customers will be entered into a raffle draw and offered a complimentary facial. Also, on making a purchase of £65 or over, they will receive a full-size tube of Plantscription Anti-ageing Serum, worth £47.
The booking fee is £20, redeemable against purchase of product. Call 0141 221 3880 ext 2005 to book a place.
In Edinburgh, a similar Origins event will be at The Place to Eat in John Lewis, from 5.30-7pm. The booking fee for this one is £10, and is also redeemable against purchases. Call 0131 525 8481 to book.

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Jeepers Creepers, Where’d You Get Those Peepers – Guerlain!

Guerlain EyelinerI started a new bottle of my favourite liquid eyeliner recently – only to discover that I had had it too long, and the liquid had thickened and separated. No other eyeliner would do so, while I awaited the delivery of a new bottle, I just soldiered on with the old, thick stuff.

At that point it dawned on me that all my eye beauty needs are best served these days by Guerlain… The aforementioned Guerlain Eyeliner (£25; www.houseoffraser.co.uk) remains unsurpassed, in my opinion, for anyone who likes an easy, retro-style, line of ink swept along their upper lid. The super-fine brush can be used to paint on a subtle, thin line close to the lashes, or can be angled for a more dramatic effect. I love all three colours – the black is perfect for an evening look, while both the brown and blue are great for complementing your eye colour.

Like the Eyeliner, Guerlain’s premium eye cream, Orchidee Imperiale Eye & Lip Cream (£120), was recently reformulated to make best use of the latest scientific findings. A luxurious, rich cream, it harnesses Guerlain’s new “Gold Orchid Guerlain Orchidee Imperiale Eye & Lip CreamTechnology” to encourage regeneration of the skin cells, firm the skin, deal with fine lines and boost the radiance and evenness of the complexion in the eye and lip areas.

For daytime, I love Guerlain Super Aqua-Eye Serum (£59). It’s been around for a while but is (along with Chanel’s Hydra Beauty Eye Gel) ideal if you like a light, very fluid cream which hydrates and plumps up the skin.

And, for morning-after emergencies (post tears, partying, lack of sleep etc), Guerlain Super Aqua-Eye Anti-Puffiness Smoothing Eye Patches (£73 for six sets) are essential beauty first aid items.

 

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